Reviews written by Andrew Young

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Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     July 07, 2011
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Lacks the trail blazing nature of its namesake

Before water the absinthe is a vibrant, mossy green. Foresty. The aroma is rounded, honeyed. Anise is the only discernable herb. Purfumey.

The louche is a tad tin but nice. It ends a pale, opalescent sea green. With water the aroma becomes much more anise-heavy, but still has notes of honey. Not much wormwood.

The flavour is smooth and balanced, very sweet. Finally on the palate there's a good wormwood presence. Earthy with a cedar note or two, perhaps some powder. Not very complex but tasty.

The finish is long and sweet, but lacks complexity. A bit candyish.

I think there's room for improvement but it's a very enjoyable, albeit dark, absinthe. I did expect something a bit more idiosyncratic and adventurous based on its namesake but it's quite good anyway.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     July 07, 2011
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Perfect for the summer.

The colour before water is beautiful peridot with a subtle hint of blue. There's a slight haze, but it's otherwise perfect. The aroma is fruity and grassy. Strong colouring herb aroma and lots of anise. Grapey. (Just looked and discovered that it has a grape base, no surprise.)

After louche it's slightly thin, but still good. Opalescent green-yellow. Nice red and orange refraction. Now the aroma is dominated by unmistakable grape base. Powdery, good anise.

The flavour is very sweet and fruity, with a good balance of the herbs. Lots of citrus, perhaps a bit of spiciness. A bit of medicinal camphor, but well in balance.

There's a long and fruity finish. It's a bit numbing but not too bad. Fades into medicinal wormwood.

This is a very refreshing, enjoyable absinthe. The perfect thing to sip on a warm, summer afternoon.

Reviewed by Andrew Young     July 07, 2011
Last updated: July 14, 2011
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Chili peppers?

Before water the colour is clear olivine. It's natural and attractive. The aroma has a spicy kick, very similar to chili peppers. Sweet, a bit pungeant and nose-burning. Fruity. Anise is present but obscured by the strange aromas.

The louche is attractive but a bit weak. Green or gold depending on the angle of light. Too thin to discern very many subtleties. With water the aroma is still full of chili pepper, with some wormwood peeking through.

The flavour is very strong and complex. Lots of minty wormwood and that peppery flavour upfront, followed by citrus notes and maybe pine. Anise sort of wraps around everything, not being too obtrusive. There's a very subtle cheesiness that I've never tasted before in an absinthe. It's very crisp and tasty but also tremendously strange. Leans toward sweet as opposed to bitter, but not too far.

It has a long, tasty finish with lots of wormwood, mellowing out to anise and fennel.

This is just about the weirdest absinthe I've had. Normally something this strange is also pretty unpleasant. It actually kind of reminds me of Pulparindo candies, but without the overly sweet-sour taste. My total numerical score, being based strictly on the guidelines, doesn't properly represent how much I enjoy this.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     July 07, 2011
Last updated: July 07, 2011
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Very surprised.

In the glass it's pale straw, maybe a hint of green. Clear with no haze, but could stand to have more depth. It smells fruity and grassy. Classic absinthe character but no classic herbs stand out, if that makes any sense.

The louche is fast and ends at skim milk thickness. The colour is soft, mint green with pearly refractions. Quite attractive. After water the aroma is nutty and powdery. Not as powerful as i'd like, but nice.

The taste is a perfect example of very nice balance; everything's there but it's all blended so well that nothing stands out except perhaps pontica. Tastes American in character, very refreshing and sweet. There's a subtle nuttiness that reminds me of a couple of Matter prototypes that had a marc base. (edit: I'm really beginning to notice the wormwood now, and it's minty and delicious.)

The finish is a bit numbing and anise dominated at first but develops balance again before the long fade.

I'm actually very impressed. I tend to be a bit suspicious of any Alandia product but this is an excellent absinthe.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     July 07, 2011
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
3.0

There's nothing wrong with it.


The absinthe is perfeclty clear with no discolouration and no debris or haze. It's the best a blanche can achieve. Before water the aroma is primarily bright, strong anise. It's a little grapey with a hint of wormwood. I don't think it has a grape base but some of those notes are being mimicked by something.

The louche is slow and a bit thin. With water it picks up a barely noticeable pale straw colour, but still smells of almost pure green anise. Wormwood sits well underneath. Actually reminds me of ouzo.

Tasting it, the overwhelming character is still anise, but there's finally some floral wormwood peeking through, as well as a slight fruitiness. Crisp and refreshing, but neither complex nor compelling.

The finish is a surprising hint of bitterness which seems daring compared to everything experienced so far, but is otherwise brief and flat.

This may actually be the least exciting absinthe I've ever had. There's no character or creativity whatsoever, but neither are there any flaws I can detect. It's just very okay.

Absinthe Substitutes
Reviewed by Andrew Young     June 11, 2011
Overall rating 
 
2.7
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
2.0
Finish 
 
2.0
Overall 
 
2.0

At least it's better than the absinthe.

The colour is a little more yellow than peridot, but very nice looking. It's not natural but it does a good job of faking it; I have to score on what I see and not what I know. Clear with no sediment. It smells strongly of star anise. There's a little bit of lemon. Very sweet smelling.

The louche is very quick and very thick. This is where it becomes obvious the colour is not natural; after water it's almost a neon greenish-yellow. It surprisingly doesn't leave chalky traces on the glass. Water kills the lemon aroma and it just becomes lots of anise.

There's as expected a syrupy sweet star anise flavour. It's a little on the acrid side but not terrible. Not exactly refreshing, but alright for a candy drink. Very thick, greasy mouth-feel. The finish is not particularly eventful. Numbing with a twinge of bitterness.

This isn't a brilliant beverage by any means but at least it's drinkable, thanks to the lack of added wormwood oil that makes its oil mix absinthe counterpart undrinkable.

Reviewed by Andrew Young     June 08, 2011
Last updated: June 08, 2011
Overall rating 
 
3.9
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
4.0

The US's very own pre-ban.

The absinthe pours lucent gold with a hint of green. There's some sediment, but it's otherwise clear. It has a wormwood-forward aroma, very floral. Citrus, mint, and oak notes. Quite sweet-smelling.

The louche is a bit on the thin side, but more colourful than expected, similar to uranium glass. With water it's still wormwood dominated. Other than some revealed powderiness it's not terribly different than before water, however nothing is lost. It's a rich, full aroma.

Sipping it, the wormwood is upfront and intense with a good bit of bitterness, but the anise is very sweet. Raw mint. An in-your-face, not terribly balanced flavour. Strongly floral, but also earthy and woodsy. Crisp and bright. The finish is long but mostly dominated by wormwood. A few hints of other flavours try to emerge but they're pretty much shouted down.

It's an honour to get to try this rare piece of US absinthe history. I personally love unbalanced, wormwood-forward absinthes, so although this may not meet what we think of as ideal it's exactly my sort of drink. I actually would not even guess it was pre-ban absinthe as it has the explosive character of the recently bottled instead of the mellowness and sophistication of age.

Reviewed by Andrew Young     May 22, 2011
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Another quality American absinthe.

It's a pretty chrysoberyl, just a bit more yellow than green. There's no haze but there are a bunch of black specks of particulate. The aroma is awesome. Rich, honeyed, balanced with no herb standing out. It's purfumey with some mintiness.

The louche is quick and thick. The colour afterward is milky jade and has a fair amount of texture. Water brings forth spiciness in the aroma and enhances the mintiness and anise. There's a bit less honey.

The absinthe is very sweet anise and minty wormwood in harmony. There's a hint of cuminy funk but it's nothing distracting. A bit of sassafras and earthy fennel. A bit murky, tastes like the smell a spice cabinet. Very homey.

There's a long, numbing finish full of floral wormwood. Some mild saltiness appears and contributes a bit of oceanic character in the end.

I'd recommend this to anyone. The balance and smoothness of it makes me wonder how it will be if left to age for ten years. Or a hundred. It already tastes like it has had the benefit from a good deal of aging.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     May 20, 2011
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
5.0

An excellent absinthe.

The colour is ideal peridot with a very slight haze. It's natural and extremely attractive.

Before water the aroma is dominated by alcoholic heat and anise. There's some slight grassiness and a hint of caramel. The wormwood is faint but noticeable. Water opens it up to an unbelievable degree. It becomes fresh and citrusy with some pine notes. Powder and camphor swirl around, appearing and then disappearing.

The louche is slow but develops very thick, with an inviting limeade appearance when taken in as a whole. Nice, sunset-orange light refraction at the edges.

Upon tasting the first thing I notice is deep floral wormwood, sweet and crisp. Woodsy. The anise is very present but doesn't take the spotlight. Not too much bitterness, but there is a twinge of saltiness. Well balanced across the entire tongue. Bell peppers, flowers, and citrus. Summery.

The finish is long and dramatic. Wormwood bitterness becomes a little more prevalent like a bass solo as the other herbs form more of an ambient tone with a sprinkle of peppercorn. Some candy-like flavours and soft powder as it fades.

This is a truly outstanding absinthe, where almost every aspect is exemplary. It has a strong, modern American character overall but the details find a way to be idiosyncratic while harmonious at the same time.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     March 05, 2011
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
4.0

I'm impressed.

Before adding water the colour is perfectly clear with no debris or tint. The aroma is dominated by floral wormwood. There is a mild heat with a slight shade of anise and a presence that reminds me of chamomile.

The louche is pearlescent, and of middle-thickness. It's pure white and only takes on the colour of light that passes through it.

After water the aroma is powdery, with the anise coming forward and the wormwood receding somewhat. There are grapefruit notes and a wrapping of earthiness.

Upfront the flavour is a powerful smack of minty wormwood, followed by a flash of peppercorn. The anise is subdued and does not contribute much sweetness. The absinthe is earthy and warm, with a twinge of bitterness. It has a crisp, light mouthfeel.

The finish is watery and mid-length, with anise giving way to a strange chalkiness until it recedes. This is the only weak point of the absinthe; it's not bad but it does not live up to its other aspects.

In some ways this absinthe has a VDT character, particularly in the aroma, but it contains more dimensions and is thus much more compelling. Unlike most blanches this does not fall into the realm of a session drink for me. It's a bit demanding as blanches go, which is refreshing in its own right.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     November 14, 2010
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Session Blanche

The blanche is not quite clear in colour; it has a slight cream or yellow tint. In addition it has a lot of floaties. Why would a blanche have sediment?

The aroma before water is wormwood-heavy with a good bit of alcoholic heat. Slight caramel aroma.

Louche is at full thickness at 1:1, and becomes almost opaque. A spoon in the glass is barely visible. Has a very slight yellow tint but is otherwise very attractive.

After water the aroma is softer and much more balanced. Anise and fennel have come forward but wormwood remains dominant. Smells sweet and floral with slight mintiness.

Flavour is a minty wormwood blast and is shockingly sweet without sugar with almost no bitterness to speak of. The anise is of excellent quality and stands high without dominating. In music engineering terms, both herbs are very high in the mix. The caramel aroma doesn't translate to the flavour. It is refreshing and delicious but beyond some citrus and earth notes, it's not terribly complex.

The mouth-feel is fairly crisp with a very slight oiliness. Not too much numbing. The finish is long and earthy, almost nutty.

Definitely a fine, spring or summer afternoon, session absinthe.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     February 01, 2010
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
3.0

Hey, this isn't half bad.

The colour is a deep, artificial green. It's attractive but definitely not natural. The aroma is very spicy. There's lots of star anise, but there's also oregano, mint, and citrus. Call me crazy but I think some fresh chili pepper flavour would meld well with it.

The louche is whitish green, quite nice but very thick. Now the aroma is still very anise-heavy but the mint has come forward and replaced the oregano. The aroma is less complex than before.

The taste is dominantly very sweet star anise with a pinch of oregano. Wormwood is present but reserved. Notes of lemon peel and leafy greens. The finish is numbing, but long and surprisingly complex with a mingling of flavours. It unfortunately devolves into sugariness at the very end.

As star anise-intensive oil mixes go this is impressive. It branches out into some unusual flavours and integrates them well. It can't hold a candle to a well-crafted, distilled absinthe but it's one of the better examples of its style.

Retired Brands
Reviewed by Andrew Young     February 01, 2010
Overall rating 
 
2.9
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
2.0
Overall 
 
3.0

An extinct oddity.

It's a pale, grassy green. Whether it's natural or not is not easily discernable. The aroma mostly makes me think of dill with some floral notes. Good bit of heat, some anise.

The louche looks natural but is pretty thin. It's a pale yellow-green. The louche has brought forward a little more anise in the aroma, but it's still very much like dill.

The flavour is sweeter than expected. It tastes very unusual, not like anything else I've had. Somewhat candylike, there's anise but it's pretty reserved. My understanding is that this has no wormwood but there's a similar sort of bitterness. No overt wormwood flavour, but the bitterness combined with the slightly floral aroma makes me wonder. The finish is very brief, very sweet, then gone. Nothing worth noting, really.

This is a cool rarity to own, and the bottle is beautiful, but if you decide not to drink it you're not really missing out on anything. It's a nice, non-sensationalistic step in the modern absinthe revival's development.

Faux Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     January 24, 2010
Overall rating 
 
2.4
Appearance 
 
2.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
2.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
2.0

Black jelly bean liqueur.

This liqueur is a thick, syrupy neon green. It smells of artificial licorice, root beer, and cola, with some spiciness that is reminiscent of cinnamon flavoured candy. It louches overly thick, but it's surprisingly attractive and natural looking considering its unlouched appearance.

Unfortunately the aroma doesn't get any better with the addition of water. It's much the same as before, but with more licorice and less of everything else. It tastes like black jelly beans down to the last detail. Numbingly acrid, cloying, artificial. I think I can taste wormwood but I'm not sure. There's a little bit of bitterness but it's so intensely sweet that it's almost obscured.

The finish is numbing, with some spiciness. Lingers but that's not really a good thing. This is more of an aftertaste than a finish.

This beverage has added sweetener, so it's a liqueur instead of a liquor. Thus, it's not absinthe. It's probably a pretty good drink for anyone who wants black jelly bean liqueur but it really does not taste much like absinthe at all.

Retired Brands
Reviewed by Andrew Young     January 24, 2010
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
2.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Very, very nice.

Perfectly clear like water. The aroma is strong floral wormwood, a little chalky. Very light anise profile. The louche is attractive but pretty thin.

After water the wormwood aroma has transitioned from floral to more minty. As for the flavour, the wormwood is obviously completely dominating. This is a really good thing in my opinion, as not every absinthe should be perfectly balanced or attempt to clone each other. A bit on the bitter side. Lots of mintiness. The floral character of the wormwood comes through on the palate more than in most absinthes. Again, anise is very light and I'm having trouble even tasting it. It's crisp and clean with no trace of funk.

It has a very long wormwood finish, becoming fruity as it fades; I'm guess this is the anise but it's so light by that point it's hard to tell.

I'm very fond of this absinthe. I wish it were made available again.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     January 21, 2010
Last updated: January 23, 2010
Overall rating 
 
3.1
Appearance 
 
2.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
2.0
Overall 
 
3.0

The funky twin.

This is from a four year old bottle; I thought I had already reviewed this.

The blanche has a light yellow tinge. There's also debris that looks like black pepper. Debris in a blanche? That's screwy. The aroma is nice. Floral wormwood, chamomile, and grape. Before water this absinthe smells great.

It louches to textbook appearance, opalescent white with tinges of platinum blue. The grape fruitiness is intensified, with some talcum powder and a little sweat. Doesn't smell as good as it did before.

Tasting it, there's a brutal upfront smack of sweaty funk, but for me this dissipates quickly and I don't taste it after the first two sips. I wish that weren't there because after it's gone the flavour is actually pretty nice. Refreshing, good sweet-bitter balance. Mostly anise and grape base, it reminds me of arak. The wormwood is there but contributes little more than a camphorous character.

Finish: like its sister Verte de Fougerolles, the finish is lackluster. The flavour dies quickly and leaves little more than a numb tongue. I might be able to taste a very pale phantom of a bubblegummy sweetness.

Edit: Considering the unusually low score I gave this absinthe compared to other people's reviews, I feel that I should point out that my bottle may not be like others. Sometimes with absinthe one encounters deviations not representative of the brand. The debris issue could be a unique problem, meaning it should receive a 3 or 4 instead of the 2 I gave it. The composite score may have been dragged down pretty hard by this. If I get another opportunity to try it in the future I will make sure to revisit this review, either to confirm or adjust my thoughts on it.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     January 21, 2010
Overall rating 
 
3.2
Appearance 
 
3.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
2.0
Overall 
 
3.0

Almost a session absinthe.

This is from a recently-found sample that is at least three years old. Before louching the absinthe is olive-green and hazy. The aroma is watery, with a pineapple character. Anise is dominant.

It louches a fairly opaque, whitish green but not thick enough to leave a residue on the glass. The aroma is now less fruity, more anise-heavy, with a little bit of an ammonia smell that is a reall buzzkill.

The flavour is mostly wormwood, with a little anise beneath--not nearly as much as in the aroma. Due to this, it's more bitter than sweet. Wormwood is a little weird and contributes a dill flavour. To me a lot of wormwood does this to a small degree, but in this absinthe it's pronounced.

The finish is the weakest part; overly numbing, most of the flavour dies quickly. Some wormwood lingers, but it is marred by ammonia-like traces underneath.

It's an okay absinthe but it has some issues. I appreciate its wormwood-forward flavour but it sacrifices complexity to achieve it. This would be perfectly acceptable for a "session absinthe" (think IPA hoppiness and refreshment) but the weird off-flavours hurt it in that regard.

Reviewed by Andrew Young     July 08, 2009
Last updated: June 11, 2011
Overall rating 
 
4.8
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
5.0
Overall 
 
5.0

Incredible

6/10/11 Revisit

Since Walton Waters has noticeably improved after sitting in the bottle for two years I wanted to see what had happened with Meadow of Love.

The surprising thing is not much has changed and the little that has is for the better. The colour has gone from perfect peridot to an elegantly aged gold while the louche is unchanged. It even somehow still has a greenish tint not present when poured neat. The aroma is less floral and more honeyed, completely blowing VDT blanches (whose aromas I tend to really love even if they taste boring) out of the water. The flavour has always been balanced but is now very mellow and rounded. For a while about a year ago I noticed that the wormwood bitterness had gotten out of line and was a bit too strong but it's perfect again. Rather than crisp the mouth feel is creamy and mouth-coating but not oily or buttery. The finish is unchanged. I had forgotten just how amazing this absinthe is.

It's difficult to restrain myself from changing the scores to all 5's, based on the criteria. However I like to assume that no matter how good things are they can theoretically be improved upon, even if I cannot imagine how. The aroma will take the scoring hit, based on the fact that its superb balance robs it of some complexity, so it loses a point for what is essentially a positive feature. Hardly fair, but there it is.

Despite some very strong contenders this is still the best modern commercial absinthe I've had. It's simply unbelievable.

Original review:

Bright, clear, peridot green before louche. Fantastic! Aroma is incredibly floral, and reminds me of Val-de-Travers blanches. Wormwood galore, with a sweet anise layer underneath. Louche action is nothing short of magnificent. It begins at the bottom, rolling back and forth, building layer upon layer, and looking near the end like cumulus clouds with little, puffy tops before turning completely stratus. After louche the colour is nearly white, with the faintest bit of yellow and green. Pretty thick. The aroma is powdery, still with the dense wormwood presence. The other herbs are so balanced they're almost too tangled to pull apart.

Flavour is the pinnacle of balance. Nothing overwhelms. Sweet with a salival gland-activating bite. Wormwood becomes pretty dominant in the lingering finish, which transitions to fennel and then anise before it finally fades. The mouth-feel is incredibly soft, mellow, and creamy. If Walton Waters is an entree then this is dessert. It's everything an absinthe should be.

This drink in my glass is my favourite modern commerical absinthe. Man, I could drink this forever. I decided to wait until I'd had a few glasses to review it so that I could see if the passion would burn brightly and then fade. It's still quite hot.

Reviewed by Andrew Young     July 08, 2009
Last updated: June 11, 2011
Overall rating 
 
4.4
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Oceanic Absinthe

6/10/11 Revisit

Over the couple of years since I was so generously gifted this bottle I have noticed some changes in it so I think it deserves a revisiting.

The serpentine colour has dulled to a slightly more olive colour with a couple of years' sitting, but it is still completely appropriate, particularly for its age.

The aroma has opened up to a tremendous degree. It's floral and honeyed, with surprising and delightful tobacco notes. The thick louche is a very attractive, opalescent olivine as before. Water makes the aroma positively room filling with a fruity character. In the glass it's a little anise-forward with a bit of saltiness, but otherwise very balanced. Powdery.

Very big flavour, all traditional absinthe herbs in excellent balance, saltiness on the palate has faded some. The juxtaposition of marine and earthiness has tilted more toward the latter. Citrus is still there but more subdued. More smooth and blended than before. Crisp and refreshing.

The finish is long and dominated by the excellent wormwood. The bitterness has mellowed substantially. Fruity and spicy notes, very nice.

Walton Waters has definitely improved with age.

Original review:

Colour before louche is serpentine, a deep green. Aroma is balanced anise and wormwood. Smells a little salty, but otherwise very classic absinthe aroma. Louche kind of builds everywhere at once instead of bottom-up. It becomes hazy quickly, stays that way for a while, and then is suddenly full. Colour after louche is olivine, not too opaque, not too thin. With water the aroma has become more anise-intensive, with a hint of spice. Smells delicious.

Flavour is both sweet and salty, with a big anise and wormwood punch right off, followed by a fennel earthiness that seems an odd but fitting marriage with its otherwise very oceanic character. The wormwood is excellent and surrounded by fleeting, citrus notes. This is a savoury absinthe, like an herbal entree. Finish is bitter and completely dominated by wormwood. In the end it reminds me briefly of an Imperial Pale Ale's hoppiness. The mouth feel is smooth but not quite the creaminess of the Meadow of Love.

This brings back good memories of many great artisanal absinthes I've tried. And I remember conversations about how there would never be commercial absinthes like them for one reason or another. It just makes me laugh now. I'm excited about American absinthe producers.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     October 22, 2008
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
5.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
4.0

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Colour before water is dark green, slightly olive. I don't think I'm doing anything different, but the louche is just the most fantastic I've ever seen. It started out average with a slow build from the bottom, but once it reached what I figured was the final thickness the fun really began. Even paler clouds began cascading from the left half of the side of the glass I was watching toward the bottom of the right half. The final colour is so solid and vibrant it's a tad surreal.

Before louche aroma is warm and fruity (specifically reminds me of pineapple) with a pointed anise profile. A tad medicinal. Some floral wormwood notes peek through. After louche the aroma still has a lot of fruit in it but has blossomed and smoothed considerably. Baby powder settles on the nose like snow. Sweet.

The taste is quite different than the aroma; it's less sweet than I had anticipated and considerably more bitter, though not unpleasantly or inappropriately so. Wormwood is more dominant than other herbs with anise falling behind even the fennel. Spicy instead of fruity. How odd it is that it tastes so different from how it smells. There is a funk I could do without; it's a bit off-putting. The fruitiness just barely reasserts itself during the underwhelming finish, during which the slightly numbed palate oddly dries out considerably.

I'm enjoying this but I definitely see it as one I'd have to be in the mood for. As of right now I enjoy looking at it and smelling it more than drinking it. I believe that's a first.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     May 09, 2008
Last updated: July 20, 2011
Overall rating 
 
3.6
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
3.0

America is starting to get it right.

Pours a golden olive that I find very attractive. Per the ratings guideline it doesn't rank a 4 because it's not bright. But it's not "unremarkable" as a 3 indicates; it's very attractive, clear, and natural. So I'm going with 4, guidelines be damned. It's been a while since I've tried a new absinthe that louched from the bottom like this. Each drop becomes a small white cloud that then reflects off the bottom, spreading everywhere and climbing with the rolling action of the early formation of a mushroom cloud in a thermonuclear explosion. It leaves a clearly defined line that lasts until it's at about 2:1. It's the nicest I've seen in a while but still a bit short of the best commercial absinthes I've seen. Colour after louche is an attractive yellow-green. Kinda reminds me of Belle Amie except thicker.

Aroma before louche is anisey and a bit cloying. I struggled to figure out what it reminds me of, and then I realised a fennel tea I enjoy has a very similar character. Not much heat but also not much floral wormwood aroma. After louche the aroma is a little more traditionally anisey and I think I even might be able to detect some wormwood in there. A tad grassy, as well. The aroma is a bit too one-dimensional.

In the flavour I can finally find the wormwood. It's more camphorous than floral but manages to break through the anise and "fennel tea" flavour, which are lighter on the palate than in the nose. To my palate it's the sweetest absinthe I've ever had that hasn't had sweetener added. There's a very perfumey taste I can't quite make out; I don't recognise it and I figure it's the result of a combination of ingredients. It's slightly acrid, which makes me think that there's star anise in it, but it doesn't want to make a death-grip on my tongue like the star anise in St. George or absentas. I also taste notes that remind me of mint and ginger. The "Big Red gum" character I find peculiar in St. George is in this absinthe too but it plays more of a backup role than being a dominating flavour. It also tastes like it's composed more from mint, coriander, and fennel than from basil, tarragon, and star anise. I think I may be crossing the threshold from useful description to stream of consciousness nonsense.

The mouth-feel is fairly creamy. It could stand a little more in that department. But it's not very numbing for the amount of anise flavour. The finish is long and dry with mint turning to wormwood turning to fennel.

All in all it's a fairly weird drink but I'm digging it. I think it could use a little work. A weak wormwood profile is something I'm really wanting to see overcome in absinthes released in the States. I could also stand for it to be a bit less cloying. While the general flavour profile almost makes it a great, refreshing beverage the relatively intense sweetness and lack of floral wormwood holds it back.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     April 24, 2008
Last updated: July 20, 2011
Overall rating 
 
3.2
Appearance 
 
4.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
3.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
3.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
3.0

Greenhousesinthe

The colour is bright golden green. Far more attractive than any pictures I'd seen of it. The louche action is ugly and fast. I started the drip and looked away from the glass for 5 seconds. When I looked back it was completely opaque and hadn't risen out of the reservoir of my Pontarlier glass. As I added water I could see more clouds swirling and thickening in the already-thick absinthe. The result is an extremely thick, mustard-yellow drink.

Aroma before louche is star anise dominant with a bit of heat. Sweet and candy-like. Notes of wildflower honey and something that resembles artificial cinnamon like in Big Red gum. After louche I think I can kind of smell a little bit of wormwood, but otherwise the other flavours are simply stronger than before. No floral wormwood.

Flavour is dominated by that Big Red flavour, which seems to be a result of the combination of distilled anise, basil, and tarragon. Mostly basil. As it lingers on the palate the flavours separate so that they're more individually distinct. Star anise gives it an acrid, absenta-like attack and it's very numbing. The flavour reminds me of the aroma in my parents' greenhouse in North Carolina when I was 6. I can detect a faint wormwood camphour but it's well-hidden. The sweetness of the aroma doesn't really carry over into the taste; it's dry and slightly bitter.

The finish is dominated by basil with hints of wormwood peeking through. It's not very complex or lasting. What does last is the tongue-numbing effect.

I'm very perplexed by this absinthe. It tastes very wrong to me but I am enjoying it for what it is. All the more unusual because I'm not generally a fan of star anise. It's unlike any other absinthe I've ever had. In fact, of any I've had it strays the farthest from a traditional absinthe flavour while still being absinthe. I think it needs some tweaking; pull back the basil some (I'm a fan of basil but it's a little out of balance), bring forward the wormwood, and substitute at least half of the star anise with green anise and I think it would be quite a good product. As it is I think it's nice and interesting enough but not worth half its price tag.

Edit: As I continue my glass it seems gradually sweeter. I wouldn't go so far as to remove my comment that it's more dry, but it definitely is changing as I slowly sip it. I suppose that's not a bad thing.

Faux Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     April 17, 2008
Last updated: July 20, 2011
Overall rating 
 
1.3
Appearance 
 
1.0
Louche 
 
3.0
Aroma 
 
1.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
1.0
Finish 
 
1.0
Overall 
 
1.0

What is this supposed to be?

I laughed hysterically when pouring it. The colour is extraordinarily artificial and absurd-looking. The louche action is slow, unspectacular, and comes out medium-thin. And still blue.

The aroma before louche is like mouthwash; minty and medicinal. It even has that nausea-inducing smell of artificial sweetener (I don't know if it really has that, but it sure smells like it). The anise is more like licorice candy. After louche it smells a little less like Scope and a little more like rotgut absinthe like Tabu. The medicinal fumes slightly burn my eyes.

The flavour is like a mentholyptus cough drop mixed with cheap licorice candy. The sweetener tastes artificial, hardening my suspicion. There is a bitter tang like copper that is really inappropriate and annoying; the only other dreck that claims to be absinthe that I've had that contains it is King of Spirits Gold. The flavour isn't remotely similar to absinthe at all and is quite offensive. The finish is dominated by that artificial sweetener flavour, degrading like the flavour of Listerine into a plasticky numbing at the back of the throat.

If this is legitimately absinthe then it's only by technicality. It really bares no similarity to absinthe in any way; all it is is mouthwash with delusions of grandeur.

Traditional Absinthe
Reviewed by Andrew Young     December 14, 2007
Last updated: December 14, 2007
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
5.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
5.0
Finish 
 
4.0
Overall 
 
5.0

Beautiful Belle Amie

Belle Amie pours clear, bright gold with a hint of green, a colour I've only seen in absinthe that has been aged for at least a few years. The louche is very slow and theatrical, dancing back and forth. The louched spirit is slightly thin and a bit more green than before adding water.



The aroma reminds me strongly of preban Pernod Fils, but is spicier and not as sweet. The anise is deceptive; it's light in intensity but stands out so strongly in character that it seems more intense than it is. Coriander, pontica, and hyssop, all of excellent quality, mingle in more of a homophonic theme than counterpoint. However, all of it is backed up by a wormwood so gorgeous it's like listening to music where the bassist steals the show.



And boy, does that carry over to the flavour, plus some. The wormwood is fantastic; definitely that same juicy, floral, and simply luscious wormwood that was used in L'Artisanale. Here it's used a tad more sparingly but to no less spectacular effect. Anise is hardly noticeable to me on the palate, and instead fennel and coriander provide most of the accompaniment. I disagree with some of my peers on the colouring herb flavour being too strong or vegetal... but that may just be because I enjoy a prominent pontica profile.



The one area where I think Belle Amie could use adjusting (as opposed to minor tweaking) is the mouth-feel. It could stand to be a good deal creamier. The finish is long and dominated by wormwood. This is one of the dryer absinthes I've had, with a respectable bitterness that lingers pleasantly on the palate. The juxtaposition of the somewhat wild bitterness with the extremely sophisticated flavour is pure joy, not entirely unlike the experience of sipping a very good, well-aged bourbon.



It's wonderful.

Reviewed by Andrew Young     October 08, 2007
Last updated: July 20, 2011
Overall rating 
 
4.1
Appearance 
 
5.0
Louche 
 
4.0
Aroma 
 
4.0
Flavor / Mouthfeel 
 
4.0
Finish 
 
3.0
Overall 
 
4.0

The first decent US-distributed absinthe

The US release of Kübler 53 reminds me a lot of a good arak. Well, the European one does, too, but I actually think this one is cleaner and better. The colour is perfectly clear. The louche is gorgeous but too fast, as anise is by far the dominant herb.

The aroma is very pleasant and typical of VDT blanches. A lot of anise wrapped in an ethereal, floral blanket. Wormwood is quite noticeable in the nose. Unfortunately it only barely carries over to the taste, which reminds me more of Razzouk arak than it does of any absinthe. It's anise, anise, and anise. At least it's really good anise, though, and not too sweet. Spicy and slightly camphorous. Wormwood is detectable with some effort, mostly as a floral quality on the roof of the mouth and then as a light, bitter kick in the long, anisey finish. The mouth-feel is creamy but too numbing.

The most noticeable difference between this version and the European release is the lack of the chocolaty, burnt taste that I found distracting in the latter. This is a lot more clean and appropriate tasting, although it could stand to have either the anise drawn back or the other herbs brought considerably forward. For absinthe, its suggested retail price of $49.99 without the added cost of courier shipping from Europe makes it very attractive. Yet it still costs 300% more than Razzouk while only tasting 30% better. A heftier wormwood profile would really help to fix that.

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